The literary production of the 12th century constitutes what is undoubtedly one of the most important chapters in the history of Byzantine literature. Authors from this period, influenced largely by the literary aspirations of the scholars of the previous century, have bequeathed a number of works, in which a shift to antiquity is evident alongside other characteristics. Specific genres (for example, romantic fiction) had been revived, while rhetoric was widely used as a means of achieving literary objectives. Another significant aspect of this new aesthetic perception is the distinction and wide dissemination of the progymnasmata, and especially of the ekphraseis, i.e. prose or verse works attempting a detailed and explicit description of various topics (cities, works of art, persons, buildings, hunting, and more). These are actually rhetorical texts of different content and context written in particularly fine language, representative products of the literary spirit of the 12th century.
The "Ekphraseis" in the Byzantine Literature of the 12th Century
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